Nobel Women’s Initiative (NWI) is excited to announce that Nobel Peace Prize laureate Maria Ressa from the Philippines has joined NWI. She joins Jody Williams (USA), Tawakkol Karman (Yemen), Leymah Gbowee (Liberia), Shirin Ebadi (Iran) and Rigoberta Menchu Tum (Guatemala), uniting in action together with courageous women leading peace around the world, and leveraging collective power to amplify nonviolent solutions, defend justice, and champion equality for all.
Maria Ressa comments: “I am pleased to be joining my sister laureates at Nobel Women’s Initiative. At an existential moment for democracy, it is inspiring to be part of a group of women jointly and fearlessly challenging injustice, authoritarianism, violence and hate, and fighting for peace and democracy.”
Maria Ressa was one of two recipients of the prize in 2021 for safeguarding freedom of expression and the press. She is the co-founder and CEO of investigative journalism digital media company Rappler and has faced numerous retaliatory actions, including arrest warrants and attempts to revoke Rappler’s license, for their work exposing summary executions, fake news and corruption.
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jody Williams comments: “The attacks that Maria Ressa faces for doing her job are not isolated. They are part of a broader, global attack on freedom of the press, on women journalists and on the foundation of democracies. We will resist these attacks together as NWI.”
Because of broader growing attacks on freedom of the press, Maria Ressa, alongside Dmitry Muratov, the second recipient of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize, presented a “10-point plan to address our information crisis” in 2022.
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi comments: “It is women who open the gates to democracy. The sooner the patriarchy understands that, the faster change will come for all. Welcome to NWI, Maria Ressa. We are pleased to have you pushing to open the gate alongside us!”
Tawakkol Karman, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, highlights: “I am delighted and filled with pride that Maria Ressa has joined the Nobel Women's Initiative. Her presence with us amplifies our commitment to upholding the right to freedom of expression as an essential pillar of democracy and global peace. We stand united with her in advocating for an inclusive and free media landscape that empowers individuals, holds power to account, and contributes to a more just and peaceful world.”
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Leymah Gbowee adds: “My sister laureates from NWI and I signed and continue to support Maria Ressa’s 10-point plan and urge immediate action to meet its recommendations.”
In addition to external threats faced by newsrooms, crucial internal issues must also be addressed. In particular, women are woefully underrepresented in the media. In 2020, the Global Gender Monitoring Project found that only 24% of all expert voices in the news were women. Women also make up only around a third of newsrooms, and war reporting is strongly dominated by men. NWI database Interview-Her helps connect media to a wide range of women experts on conflict, peace and security.
Maria Butler, Executive Director of NWI, comments: “Despite the central roles women play in driving peace, dominant narratives on peace and security continue to position women as victims and exclude their voices. Shifting those narratives, and supporting women journalists, is core to NWI’s recently adopted strategic directions. We are thrilled to welcome Maria Ressa to NWI. Her expertise and experiences will be crucial in our work to amplify nonviolent solutions, defend justice, and champion equality for all.”
Upon joining NWI, Maria Ressa will become the sixth current Nobel Peace Prize laureate at NWI. In total, only 18 women have received the peace prize in its entire history, compared to over 90 men.